Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High School and FaceBook--The Whore(s) Of All The Earth

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the significance of Face Book. Sure, on the surface it seems like a novelty it's as addicting as cocaine and as trivial as the purse you carry--but much the same way cocaine can grab a hold of you and a purse becomes an obsession, not to mention a symbol of who we are (or at least, who we want to portray we are) Face Book is much more than people give it credit for. It took me a long time to get interested in FB and had my dear friend from high school, my long time best friend since birth, not suggested I make an account JUST so I could see what ridiculous losers those people had become (the same people she knew had tormented me unmercifully in high school) well, I might not have ever gotten into it. But, I did. I set up an account with the intention of voyeuristically viewing the pages and photos of the people in H.S. who took it upon themselves to show me what a turd I really was. What I found when I finally "got on" FB? It was like the second coming of the 10 year high school reunion. Girls who had never grown up, still acting the part of the high school bully and boys that had sly talked their way into my pants with the promise of a future together (and instant popularity)--now fat, bald and divorced. So, with the help of my friend I set up an account and in the section entitled "Profile" I listed myself as "Not fat, bald or divorced" essentially claiming victory over my tormentors. Little did I know it was just the beginning.
Through the past year or so I have been actively posting my thoughts and experiences on FB. I have teetered between wanting to keep my posts clean enough for my friends from Utah county, so as not to offend anyone, and really wanting to unleash on a handful of people who made my high school experience an unhappy one. Now it might seem as though I am shirking my personal responsibility in as much as having done many of the things they claimed I did, but that is not at all the case. On the contrary, I have blamed myself for years and taken much more than my share of the responsibility. Yes, I bought the bullshit lies the boys gave me and yes, I fell HARD for the false promises of friendship and loyalty the girls gave. In fact, I can remember one girl I particularly liked coming to my house, accompanied by a long time friend (one I had believed to be my allie) and receiving an earful of hatred and scorn followed by a promise of bodily harm if I EVER looked at her boyfriend. Now at that time I don't believe I had any idea who her boyfriend was, but as all good Shakespearean dramas play out, a self fulfilling prophecy is no good without the prophecy coming true right? It was not long before I ended up in the front seat of that boy's Chevy step side caught up in a moment of unforgettable passion...well, as unforgettably passionate as high school sex can be.
And, therein lies the sum, or at least the majority of my high school experience. My uncontrollable desire to prove people right about me, coupled with a magnetically charged personality--it was a recipe for disaster. Over the years I have discovered, not only do I have a habit of attracting men but their psychotic, jealous girlfriends as well. There I was 16, desperate for friendship and approval--I had a new car and a brand new (fully developed) body which I realized could attract the attention of both the boys AND the girls (and dirty old men--but that is another blog entirely). I had the body of a woman and the brain of a child, not to mention the guts of Evil Canival. Together they brought me much the same misery, excitement, and folly as they do today.
So, fast forward 15 years. Here I am--that same girl--with those same endearing qualities I had in high school--now, living the quintessential "dream" as a 33 year old woman. A fabulous 12 year marriage with a man I could never have wished for with all of my heart (yes, he's really that great) 3 wonderful children, who bring me a sense of true purpose and a beautiful house in the most desirable part of Salt Lake City. However, I feel less accepting and more estranged than ever from the idea of being a "grown up" which brings me back to my original thought--no wonder FB is so addicting for someone like me. I have struggled with the idea of "growing up"--letting go of that moment in time--high school was difficult and sad for me, but it was also how I began to define myself, it was the beginning of my adulthood (in my mind), now looking back it was really only the end of my innocence. So of course after marrying such an amazing man and having these wonderful children I thought I had let it go, I had overcome that experience--I thought that "high school" was over for me, but I was wrong.
There I was at the "cross roads" of my own personal development. I found myself asking complex questions like--why don't I feel satisfied? How do I embrace the life I have been blessed with? How can I learn to love and be grateful for this simple, peaceful life of motherhood without losing the "true person" that I am--the "wild child"? Then it dawned on me--maybe that wasn't really who I was, maybe that was only who I was TOLD I was by hostile angry girls and horny, selfish boys. My beliefs about who I was started to unravel. It was not until I discovered FB, started to relive that high school experience that I realized I was NOT the person I believed I was--I was someone much greater then the sum of those awful experiences. I was someone who was ready to cancel out the factors that had been so negative. I was ready to redefine myself. I was someone who could let go of the hurt that went along with being bullied and used and lied to by people that called themselves my "friends". It was time to throw down a glass of wine and start "defriending".
Now, if you asked me today what I think about FB, I would say if used properly, in moderation, it's fun. And if...in the end, I attribute my FaceBook experience to actually helping me overcome some negative core beliefs about myself then really this whole drunken rant begs the question "Why do I refer to FB as the Whore of all the earth"? Well, Bruce R. McConkie said the "Whore of all the earth" was the Catholic Church...but, I like to think that really...it's FaceBook. In the Book of Mormon it says "there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whosoever belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10-11) I believe that passage is a reference to how easily we can be fooled by something that SEEMS good but leads us away from our true path. Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting FB itself is leading us into darkness, I am suggesting the MOTIVATION behind our FB posts--the desire to appear to other people as bigger, better, richer, stronger, somehow...MORE than someone else, is what leads us further away from discovering how truly special we are. In an inaugural speech Nelson Mandela gave, he said "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?" That quote really struck me--it helped to open my eyes to how mislead, how blinded by popularity I was...how willing to follow a "false prophet" I was when it came to high school.
So, guess what all you hater bitches from high school who wrote "Whore" on my locker and made me eat my lunch in the bathroom? I am taking back the power. I will no longer let your fear of your own inner demons influence the way I see myself. I will let my light shine. I WILL be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous--and now that I am--I will grow exponentially. I will keep working toward my goal, the goal of self actualization--and as I begin to see my inner light shine...I will heal, and...I will wish the same for you.

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